Irish in US respond to Biden’s election: ‘A big dark cloud is being removed from the country’

Readers express both delight and upset as Joe Biden is named 46th US president

James Mahon: ’I exhaled a sigh of relief that enough Americans heard this same message from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris this November to give the American Dream another chance for everyone who calls this country their home.’

James Mahon: ’I exhaled a sigh of relief that enough Americans heard this same message from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris this November to give the American Dream another chance for everyone who calls this country their home.’

 

Joe Biden has been elected the 46th president of the United States of America. We asked Irish people living in the US to send us their reactions. Here is a selection of their responses:

James Mahon, New York: ‘I exhaled a sigh of relief’

I was riding in a cab from Brooklyn to Manhattan with my fiancee when the news broke that Biden had won the election. Spontaneous street celebrations broke out all along our route to the jewellers where we had an appointment to look at wedding bands.

We celebrated that afternoon at the Molly Wee pub in Midtown, founded by an Irish immigrant from County Cavan in 1980. It reminded me of my mother who emigrated from Co Wexford that same year and how much Ireland - like America - has changed since then. The tavern evoked the old Irish countryside, but the message on the table settings made it clear that all were welcome to share the ‘mighty craic’ at the Molly Wee.

I exhaled a sigh of relief that enough Americans heard this same message from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris this November to give the American dream another chance for everyone who calls this country their home.

Peter A Bell: ‘There is a feeling here that a big dark cloud is being removed from the country.’
Peter A Bell: ‘There is a feeling here that a big dark cloud is being removed from the country.’

Peter A. Bell, Syracuse, New York: ‘Americans’ celebrations this year reminded me of the celebrations I saw in documentaries and films of V-E Day in Europe and V-J Day in America at the end of World War II.’

Because I taught at the law school from which Joe Biden graduated (well before I started teaching there), and which his son Beau also graduated (while I taught there), I had the opportunity to see (and interact briefly with) Joe Biden on four occasions at the law school.

I can attest personally to the quality of humanity you have seen in him in so many of his speeches, including the one he gave tonight. On two of his first two commencement speeches, I, a nobody to him, had the opportunity to speak briefly with then Senator Biden at small gatherings the morning of commencement.

There was lots of noise and partying in the streets of Syracuse tonight. I believe some of the enthusiasm and joy stems from an affection for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and a belief that they will do a good job for the country. By and large, however, the level of enthusiasm and love for Biden is not as strong as it was for the more magnetic Barack Obama, who also had the charisma of being the first person of colour to become President.

There was still plenty of dancing and singing in the streets, however, this year, too. Americans’ celebrations this year reminded me of the celebrations I saw in documentaries and films of V-E Day in Europe and V-J Day in America at the ends of World War II.

There is a feeling here that a big dark cloud is being removed from the country, one that has overlain us - unexpectedly - for nearly four years. (Of course, not everyone has that feeling; an awful lot of people voted for Trump).

Marie Laliberte: ‘Now we begin the process of rebuilding with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.’
Marie Laliberte: ‘Now we begin the process of rebuilding with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.’

Marie Laliberte: ‘President Biden and VP Harris will heal us here’

It has been 4 years of horror here in the States. But, now we begin the process of rebuilding with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. They are smart and caring individuals with a world view. They believe in science and respect our part not as an isolated nation, but as a partner in this world we all share. I am ecstatic today!

I know Ireland will welcome them (love Ballina for celebrating and the welcome words from President Higgins).

President Biden and VP Harris will heal us here and restore our part in making the world a better place.

Alison Gibney, New York: ‘Pure magic’

Doing my Saturday chores I heard car horns beeping and roars of joy from outside. Having checked the news for confirmation I popped a bottle of champagne with my neighbours. I then headed to Times Square with my son Cian (7) so that he could experience the historic moment and share in the joy of our city. The mood in Times Square was jubilant. People were dancing, waving flags and singing as cars honked in support. Pure magic.

Orlaith McCarthy - Estes, Oakham, Massachusetts: ‘Welcome back America!’

I moved to the US in the mid 80s, initially on a J1 visa and just for summers. I had no intention of making America my home away from home but life happens. I raised my children to be proud Americans. They also have a very strong sense of being Irish. I would explain to them that standing for the National Anthem was important. I feel that now after a very evil, dark time in this country we are starved for decency, hope, intelligence, respect, moral and social responsibility to return. We have hope again!

Barrie-John Murphy, Bucks County, Pennsylvania: ‘I did not fill out a mail-in ballot, but in retrospect, I should have’

I admire iconoclasts, so I intended to vote for Donald Trump. I did not fill out a mail-in ballot, but in retrospect, I should have. Normally, I’m in and out of my polling place. We only have a population of 1,200. But when I arrived at my polling place, the line stretched for half a mile. I gave up.

Not wanting to leave, I put on my freelance journalist outfit and interviewed some voters, some of whom had to wait nearly two hours to vote. Everyone was relaxed and good-natured; two sides being Americans and doing what Americans do: exercising their right to vote. In the end, it was my state, the Keystone State, that would cost Trump his key to the White House.

Cathy Peterson-Doyle, North Carolina: ‘Now, hopefully the US can join the union of civilized people again’

We are over-the-moon happy here! We live back and forth between Asheville and Co Sligo and were making our plans to move back permanently should Trump win again. We’ll still be moving at some point but have a bit more time now to plan it. It is a joyous day here, people dancing in the streets and such a palpable sense of relief. Now, hopefully the US can join the union of civilized people again!

Denim Johnson, Florida: ‘We are deeply concerned that the Biden choice is a crossroads for America’

My area is heavily Republican. The people in my circles are extremely upset by the election result. I’m getting many emails with prayer suggestions. We are deeply concerned that the Biden choice is a crossroads for America and that there will be no going back. We don’t know who is really behind him and who will be running the country.

I personally am turning off the news. Tonight there were two college football games on national TV. The major stations announced their plan to interrupt the coverage for the Biden speech. There were immediate announcements of alternate stations that would keep covering the games. The games were very exciting and I believe most viewers skipped the Biden blather. I think we will be skipping his blather for the next four years and, hopefully, ignoring his mandates and defeating his move towards socialism.

Joseph Kaiser: ‘Today I am no longer ashamed of being an American’

I woke up with overwhelming relief of the outcome and one where our democracy had pulled back from the abyss of another dark four years of a Trump presidency.

Today I am no longer ashamed of being an American but I still carry disbelief so many of my fellow Americans are still filled with Trump-fuelled rage who refuse to see Trump as anything but their dear leader.

Steven Lloyd: ‘The only wins they get are by cheating’

Wrought with fraud. It has been evident for a long time. The liberal people cannot have voter ID laws because the only wins they get are by cheating. It’s obviously not being reported because this is the natural order of loss of media and liberties before some sort of socialism or communism.

Niamh Coleman: ‘There is much healing to be done

These past years have been literally unbearable. When Trump was first elected, there was always a sense that maybe his campaign vitriol was dramatic for the purposes of getting votes and that he may not be as bad when elected. On the contrary. The election emboldened him and the hateful persistent rhetoric has endured for four years. To the point that I no longer recognised the country I emigrated to in 2003.

So many of the Irish community here, especially the recent immigrants, felt the same way. The constant hate, 24/7 persistent tweeting and fundamentalist policies sought to take this country back decades. It felt like another civil war was raging.

Thankfully, we have a new era now and the overwhelming feelings today are of relief and hope. But there is so much healing to be done. 71 million people voted for Trump. Republicans and Democrats alike now need to model the way so that we can break down the divide and so that we can save lives by getting some consistency in how Covid is being managed. We are feeling the love of the rest of the world tonight!

Joseph McConnell, Pennsylvania: ‘America did not deserve President Trump

I’m sixty-eight years old, and an unabashed supporter of President Trump. Like many of my fellow Republicans, I am deeply disappointed by America’s rigged election.

I have a pragmatic view of what has transpired: America did not deserve President Trump. He is a good man who was trying to do good in an evil place filled with ungrateful people. So now, America has Biden.

All those who made this tragic day possible must share the blame in the inevitable demise of this once great experiment in democracy called America.

Shauna Keating, San Jose, California: ‘This has most certainly been a bittersweet victory’

We became teary as we heard Biden speaking, remembering what it was like to hear a real and proper president speaking again! (I think it was his use of the word “we” instead of “I” that did it.) We are all saying that we believe we’ll have deeper sleep for the first time in four years.

For me, and I’m sure so many, this has most certainly been a bittersweet victory: Perhaps as much as we are relieved, we are shocked and disgusted over how this election could be even remotely close, let alone as close as it was.

While so grateful for the outcome that will have a real president again, I, along with so many others, have to reconcile this disillusion and all that’s been laid to waste by - worse than just one man- our fellow Americans who voted for him. I guess only time will tell if this was our racism, a mass cult, or simply societal stupidity, but whatever it’s been, I’ll never be able to look at my beloved country the same way again.